NO STRINGS ATTACHED is a difficult film to address. Not because it brings any new or complicated issues or cinematic techniques to the table, and not because it challenges presumptions, or pushes boundaries—and not even because it's so laughably horrid, unfunny, and stupid that tearing it apart counts for sport. It's far worse than any of those things: No Strings Attached is so wholly mediocre that there's barely anything worth mentioning about it other than, "Ouch, Natalie. Your timing really sucks."
Natalie Portman has always seemed above the grind of hasty Hollywood romcoms, leaving those roles to the genre's workhorses like Jennifer Aniston and Anne Hathaway. To see her lapse into lazily done lowbrow—with Ashton Kutcher no less!—is an unwanted distraction from the accolades she's enjoying for the much more interesting Black Swan.
To get on with it: Portman plays Emma, a stressed-out doctor with an allergy to commitment. Kutcher is Adam, an aspiring television writer currently stuck in PA mode, partly because he's unwilling to ride on the coattails of his successful father (a jaunty Kevin Kline). Emma and Adam have met and re-met in various semi-significant ways over the course of their lives, and finally have hasty, spontaneous sex the morning after he shows up completely wasted at her apartment on a destructive bender after discovering that his pot-smoking, mushroom-taking father is dating his ex. But wait! Emma's throat starts to close if they so much as snuggle, so they decide to just stick to booty calls with—wait for it—no strings attached! But then, in a surprise twist, they accidentally fall in love. Weird, right?! (It doesn't count as a spoiler if it happened in the trailer.)
A few surviving qualities swim to shore from this wreckage: Greta Gerwig is present as mutual friend Patrice (note to Hollywood: more and better roles for Greta, please); Lake Bell, as Adam's nerdy-hot coworker, is charming 75 percent of the time; and there's an absolutely adorable fluffy, tiny dog that's even more underused than Gerwig. Oh, and you get to see Ashton Kutcher's butt, though whether that's a pro or a con is probably debatable.